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Putting sustainability centre stage

10 December 2010

CABE's Sustainable Places programme has helped people take practical action to tackle climate change. We asked Andy Nolan from Sheffield City Council to explain how he has been involved in the programme, and what Sheffield is doing to become a more sustainable city.

Norfolk Park Green homes in Sheffield have impressive environmental credentials. Photo by Mikael Schilling

Norfolk Park Green homes in Sheffield have impressive environmental credentials. Photo by Mikael Schilling

How has Sheffield City Council been involved in Sustainable Places?

We were involved in shaping the programme right from the start. We’ve helped to make sure that the Sustainable Places website provides the most useful information that local authorities need. Within Sheffield, we’ve identified an area in need of regeneration and are using the principles of Sustainable Places to provide a focus for how we develop plans for this area.

How has Sheffield City Council benefitted from being part of Sustainable Places?

It’s given us a better understanding of holistic planning – bringing together a range of disciplines and objectives into a spatial approach to deliver real development and regeneration projects on the ground.

Why is sustainability a design issue? How has CABE’s advice differed from others helping the Council?

Good design is sustainable. Bad design isn’t. CABE’s advocacy of good design through our City Design Panel has been helpful in ensuring good design is expected.

What are the biggest climate change challenges for Sheffield?

Carbon reduction through behaviour change, infrastructure investment and changing models of finance and governance as part of the localism and devolution agenda.

Is Sheffield supporting renewable and low carbon energy?

We’ve set up a Climate Change Fund for community projects which aim to counter climate change. We’re working on projects to use the feed-in-tariff to support this. The key is having the knowledge and skills to be able to find the right energy solutions for the right places.

Are you going to be taking advantage of national incentives for local heat and energy production?

The city is already pressing ahead with plans for small scale power generation benefitting from the feed in tariff. We await details of the Green Deal and the Renewable Heat Incentive to see how we can take advantage of them for the benefit of Sheffield.

Has the Council started to think about climate change adaptation?

Yes, we are working with Arup on a pilot programme called Rapid Resilience to improve community resilience to climate change and extreme weather. We adopted National Indicator 188 (Planning to Adapt to Climate Change) in our local area agreement and have reached Level 2 (out of 4).

How can Sheffield make the best use of its natural assets to address the impacts of a changing climate?

Sheffield’s abundant green spaces present an opportunity to reduce the impact of extreme weather – to ameliorate extreme weather patterns, soften the urban heat island, improve air quality and absorb heavy rainfall. Maximising this opportunity will require rethinking how we use land and getting support from the public.

What have you learnt from being part of Sustainable Places?

The importance of planning for sustainability at the very beginning of a development project, involving elected Members from the start, and sharing ideas across different departments and organisations.

What’s next for the Council?

The regeneration project we have identified under the Sustainable Places programme is now on our programme board portfolio and we are working with the public and private sector to deliver it. We are preparing bids for the European Regional Development Fund and Jessica (Joint European Support for Sustainable Investment in City Areas) to help achieve this.


CABE and Urban Practitioners
with the cities of Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield